POP Picks: Why the Planet of the Apes Series Is Still Interesting 60 Years Later


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Can you believe it’s been nearly 60 years since Charlton Heston bellowed, “You maniacs! You blew it up!” at that iconic fallen Statue of Liberty in the original Planet of the Apes? Fast forward to today, and Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is receiving great reviews, adding another successful film to the legacy. This franchise is the ultimate comeback kid, always surprising us and never losing steam. But what is it about Planet of the Apes that makes it so irresistibly fascinating after all these decades? Let’s find out.

What truly sets the Planet of the Apes series apart is its fearless exploration of big, timeless themes. From the groundbreaking 1968 film to the latest releases, these movies dive deep into questions about humanity, society, and our darkest instincts. Remember that jaw-dropping twist at the end of the original movie? It’s not some far-off planet — it’s Earth! That kind of powerful commentary on human nature and destruction still resonates today. The films tackle everything from war and peace, to ethical dilemmas and scientific advancements, ensuring that their storylines stay relevant across generations.


And what about those visuals? The early movies wowed audiences with their practical ape costumes and makeup, which were revolutionary for their time. Fast forward to today, and the latest movies are using mind-blowing motion capture technology. Andy Serkis as Caesar? Pure magic. This tech lets actors bring the apes to life with incredible realism, blending human emotion with stunning visuals. The result? A series that’s a visual and emotional feast that keeps us hooked with every new release.

Reboots Done Right: Breathing New Life Into Ape Lore

Reboots can be a gamble, but Planet of the Apes nailed it. The 2011 reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, brought the series back with a fresh, modern twist. It wasn’t just a rehash — it was an origin story that grabbed new fans and thrilled longtime followers. By focusing on how the intelligent apes came to be and their rise to dominance, the rebooted series managed to stay true to the originals while introducing new stories. Each new film builds on the last, creating a rich, evolving storyline that keeps us coming back for more.

One reason these movies stand out is their intricate characters and moral quandaries. Unlike typical action flicks, Planet of the Apes delves into the gritty, messy aspects of both humans and apes. It’s a wild ride, a departure from the norm. Picture this: leaders who happen to be monkeys, calling the shots. It’s as bizarre as it is captivating.


Characters like Caesar aren’t your run-of-the-mill heroes; they’re complex leaders grappling with tough decisions and ethical grey areas. This depth adds richness to the stories, making them more immersive and relatable. Caesar’s journey, filled with personal loss, leadership challenges, and tough ethical decisions, reflects the struggles we all face. It’s what makes his story so gripping. These movies go beyond just action – they make us think about big questions, like what’s right and wrong, and what it means to be human. And let’s not forget the sheer audacity of following leaders who happen to be monkeys.

A Cultural Phenomenon

Let’s face it: Planet of the Apes is a cultural icon. Those classic scenes — like Heston’s beachside revelation — are etched into movie history. The franchise has influenced a ton of other sci-fi works and keeps popping up in academic discussions, and its ongoing popularity and impact are clear indicators of its enduring legacy. The series’ exploration of dystopian futures and alternative histories has left an indelible mark on popular culture, inspiring countless other films, books, and TV shows. Its ability to continuously influence and be referenced in new media showcases its lasting significance and its place in the pantheon of great cinematic franchises.

What’s truly amazing about this series is its adaptability. Planet of the Apes has rolled with the punches, evolving with changes in society, technology, and audience tastes. Each new movie respects the originals while bringing something fresh to the table. The franchise’s resilience can also be credited to the way it addresses contemporary issues through its storytelling, adapting its themes to resonate with current societal concerns. This adaptability not only ensures its survival, but also improves its relevance for new generations of viewers.

Finally, there’s something inherently fascinating about the idea of apes rising to power and humanity’s downfall. It’s a unique and imaginative concept that has captured our imaginations since the beginning. The series’ exploration of power dynamics, survival, and identity continues to intrigue and entertain audiences around the world, and the idea of intelligent apes taking over the world serves as a powerful metaphor for various real-world issues, from environmental destruction to social inequality, making the series both thought-provoking and entertaining.

In a nutshell, Planet of the Apes stays captivating because it tackles timeless issues, evolves with technology, nails its reboots, offers complex characters, leaves a lasting cultural impact, and adapts like a champ. With Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes making waves, it’s clear that our fascination with this epic saga isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This franchise continues to push boundaries and explore new frontiers, ensuring its place in cinematic history for many more years to come.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is in cinemas now, you can book your tickets here. You can also catch up on every Planet of the Apes films on Disney+.

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